About getting a Rollei 35, what to test before actually buying?

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by nicolasraddatz, Nov 11, 2008.

  1. Ok, so I couldn't resist the Rollei 35 charm. I'm just about buying a rollei 35 tomorrow. What do you recommend for
    me to test/check for before actually paying for it? Any "known" issues?<br/><br/>

    - Check all shutter Speeds<br/>
    - Check focus? How?<br/>
    - Check all apertures<br/>
    - Check battery slot<br/>
    - Check the meter (I doubt it'll have working batteries)<br/>
    - What would be show stoppers? (dented lens, fungus, corroded battery slot?)<br/>
    It is a Made in Singapore Rollei 35, Tessar f/3.5, I'm paying 80 dollars for it, is that a good deal if its working properly?

    The current owner says it hass been in a closet for...8 YEARS!
  2. $80 is a great deal.
  3. What you want to check on these are the slow speeds as they get "slow". Set it at 1/5th and see if it shoots or hangs up. Also the advance lever gums up on these sometimes. Check the battery compartment for a leaky battery. A little "salt", powder or green stuff is no problem. Pick up a 625 battery to test it.

    Show stoppers? Non-working shutter at any speed. Heavily scratched or fogged lens. Jammed advance.

    Hey, remember you can't compact the lens back into the body until you advance and leave the shutter cocked. To get the camera ready for shooting you have to pull the lens out and turn it to lock in place. There is a button on top to unlock it.

    That is about all you need to know.
  4. $80 is a smokin deal.
  5. Be aware of the fact that the meter uses a PX 625 mercury battery, so you'll either have to find a battery adaptor or have the meter re-calibrated for 625 (i.e. U 625) alkakine cells if you want to use the camera's meter. Make sure the lens is collapsible without much force. Check if the aperture changes when turning the aperture dial. If you have the opportunity, shoot a film and look at the results. Prices for Rollei 35 are so low at the moment that buying a camera that needs any maintenance or repairs - even cleaning the shutter - shall make no economic sense.
  6. $80 is indeed very cheap for this camera, but I will add one more check to the others advice. If the camera has been stored in a cupboard there may be fungus in the lens. This will show as spider web looking growth inside the elements, and is hard to remove. Just view the lens in bright light, and open the aperture up all the way, put the camera on B which will open the shutter, then point it at a bright light source and any fungus/ haze will be easy to see.

  7. Thanks to all for replying, now i have a pretty clear idea of what to expect. Peter, if i used an alkaline 625, can't i compensate on the ISO speed dial? Is it necessary to recalibrate the meter?
  8. Another thing to check is the aperture. It's kind of open-aperture mechanism since it is linked to the aperture dial only when the lens is pulled out. Check whether the aperture blades open and close as you turn the aperture dial, and whether it is properly set when the lens is recessed and pulled out again.
  9. Tom, it doesn't help to compensate on the ISO speed dial as the deviation is non-linear. I forgot to mention that
    a zinc-air cell (such as a Wein Cell) should do as well; I have not tried this myself and I'm not sure whether
    these cells - which consume oxygen - get enough fresh air in the closed battery compartment of a Rollei 35, and
    you'll have to change this type of battery more frequently. I own two Rollei 35s, I had one re-calibrated a few
    years ago, the other works with an adaptor, both work fine.
  10. I've used the #675 zinc/air hearing aid battery in many old cameras with good results. Available in most pharmacies, may need some shimming wih aluminum foil to fit properly.
  11. the pain with hearing aid/Wein cells in a Rollei 35 is that when they go dead you can't change them with film in the camera... have to wait till you finish your roll 'cuz the cell is inside the body.
  12. Thanks all! I have the camera with me right now! It seems ok, I just run a roll through it for testing, waiting for development. The camera seems in decent shape, all speeds seem to work fine, the lens was clean, and in fact it came with a Rollei UV filter and rubber hood, as well as a Rollei flash and a self timer that doesn't seem to be working.<br/><br/>

    Now, the leatherette is quite dirty. I wonder what do you guys use for cleaning leatherette???
  13. $80 is a great price, it is easily worth $250-300, and made in Singapore means it was better made than the German version (Yes I worked for the company and my German R35 was in the shop every year or so), I traded it to a R35T from Singapore and it still works just fine and that is since 1971 or 72. \

  14. Pounce! You can't beat $80 for a Rollei 35. FWIW, I use the 675 zinc air cell. When the battery cover is screwed into place it holds the smaller 675 cell without foil or shims of any kind. Just have the camera level and battery centered before attaching the cover.
    Will the owner let you expose a roll of film in the camera and have it processed before selling? Normally I would do that, but if not, at $80 I would take a chance if everything seems to work.
  15. Just don't ever force the lens to collapse if the camera isn't cocked. I also wouldn't wail too hard on the film advance as there's a plastic gear in many of them that can break.

    <p>Mine is a black Singapore Rollei 35 with the Rollei Tessar lens. Its a fantastic little travel and carry-everywhere camera.
  16. Thanks to all you guys for your comments!

    Ok, I ran a second roll through it. A few thoughts/quirks.<br/><br/>

    - Slow speeds seem to be off, most of my below 1/60 shots were blurry (I manage to take pics with my SLR at 1/15, maybe 1/8 with success). It may be due to the handling of the camera, I don't know.<br/><br/>

    - I got the shutter locked a couple of times. I managed to unlock it by changing shutter speed. What could be causing this??? I'm pretty careful not to try to collapse the lens if the camera is not locked (not that the camera will allow you anyways).<br/><br/>

    - Aperture dial and focus ring seem need a bit more "friction", as they move way too easily from where i set them, just by handling the camera.<br/><br/>

    It's a beautiful camera. My first roll gave me contrasty, sharp pictures. I'm probably out for a CLA soon, I think it would be worth it. How much could I expect to pay for a full cleanup and fixing of the problems I mentioned?
  17. If possible, get a repair technician to look at it. Or if you know someone who has a similar model to compare it to that would also help. A CLA will bring your total cost up to or beyond what most Rollei 35 users paid for a used one in good condition. If you do go the CLA route, though, at least you will have confidence that your camera is in good working order. Check the KEH website to see what an EX condition Rollei 35 goes for. If a CLA plus $80 goes much over that amount then you should think it over. KEH does offer a warranty on used equipment. Good luck.
  18. http://flickr.com/photos/27969955@N02/2833615299/

    These photos taken by Rollei 35. Forgive me for un-proper scanning. I printed the negative - and all are wonderfully sharp and clear. Good lens, indeed. Well....enjoy your camera!
  19. I got a 35T two years ago, it´s a fantastic camera. If I got one of these 30 years ago I would never look for another compact 35mm.
    My only issue about this camera is the meter, it mostly doesn´t work, and sometimes gives erratic readings, so I never trust the meter anyway. I just guesstimate exposure and most of times I get good negatives.
    My question to experienced rollei 35 users is: Is it worth the effort to try to get the meter working? Is the missreading easy to repair or should I throw the batery away and be happy with a meterless camera?
  20. Hi everyone,
    Is the Rollei Club still exists? I have been on the site and it looks dead...
    Pity I really wanted to get some info, such as how to get filters, lenshood,
    sun shade etc. Thanks for trying to answer, Dominique

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